Inclusion at the Pesach Seder

Karen Gluch, Assistant Director of the Elaine and Norm Brodsky Midreshet Darkaynu program at  Midreshet Lindenbaum

The Pesach Seder is long and detailed, intricate and complex. It is elaborate and diverse,
structured and orderly. However it is also exciting and experiential, moving and stimulating.
The Pesach Seder is for everyone! One of the first things that we do is invite guests. We
say, “Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and
conduct the Seder of Passover.” Why the repetition? What is the difference between hungry
and in need? Who are we talking to? Who is hearing the invitation, haven’t the invitations
gone out already? There are many discussions about this and different answers given. One is
that we are talking to ourselves! We are all hungry, we are all in need, we are all lacking, and
we all have room to grow! Each of us has our inner Egypt, our own obstacles and struggles.
So we invite each one of us at the Seder table to truly participate in the experience of the
Seder table, to experience and internalize the slavery. And then to use those feelings to
inspire us to reach for the next step, the freedom, and truly appreciate the sweetness of our
own redemption.

We invite each and every person at the Seder to partake in the Seder. How can we ensure
that everyone will take part and be fully involved? The Four Sons at the Seder can represent
all the different types of people, how we can respond to each of them at their level, the
place that they are at, and not where we are or we would like them to be.

The Seder is built to include different types of learners; visual, auditory, kinesthetic
(experiential), and narrative to name a few. The Seder from Kaddish until Nirtza includes
many different learning styles and gives everyone an opportunity to be a part of the Seder in
a meaningful way. At a shiur on the Hagaddah by Rabbi Judah Dardik, he divided the Seder
into four, the repetition of the story of the Exodus from Egypt told in different ways to
satisfy the needs of those with various learning styles. Maggid begins as a story (narrative
learner), songs are included (auditory), tasting and eating of specific foods symbolizing the
experience of slavery and freedom (kinesthetic), and items are raised at different points that
we are supposed to look and point at (visual). The Seder is not the time for children, nor
anyone else, to be ‘seen and not heard’. Everyone should truly be an active participant at
the Seder.

The lessons learned at the Seder should not be limited to a one night a year experience. We
should always be inviting others to join us, sensitive to the needs of those around us,
extending ourselves to make all feel included. We went down to Egypt as 70 individuals and
G-d took us out as one nation We are all part of Am Yisrael.


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